O.N.G.C. win MDFA Elite Division as Rohit Mirza’s 93rd minute strike for Mumbai F.C. sinks Air India

MDFA Elite division champion ONGC posses with trophy along with Mr. Aditya Thakre

Mumbai F.C. hosted Air India in the final fixture of the Mumbai District Football Association Elite Division fixture at Cooperage ground on Friday evening, 18th March, 2016. A 93rd minute goal proved enough for Air India hearts to break as O.N.G.C. are crowned champions for this season’s Elite division.

One can say that Air India’s defeat by the hands of Union Bank of India earlier this year has been the turning point of the season, for Air India and as well as for O.N.G.C.

Air India began the match at a frantic pace but slowly gave away an initially built momentum to Mumbai F.C.; the former showed encouraging signs, in the opening 5 minutes of the match, but their decision to play Mumbai F.C. on the break gave the i-League outfit a complete hold on the proceedings.

Mumbai F.C. came close to scoring an opening goal on a number of occasions throughout the first-half, but timely last-ditched tackles and blocks from a resolute Air India backline kept Mumbai F.C. at bay. Been playing on the back foot for almost 40 minutes, Air India were desperate to score a goal sooner-or-later in the match to avoid conceding a goal, at any given time in the match.

Throughout the first-half, Mumbai F.C. clearly remained the better and dominant side amongst the two teams, who combined with sleek passing moves and positional play outperformed their counterparts, but failed to provide any real zeal in front of goal.

Air India’s lack of pressure on the ball around the 18 yard box gave Mumbai F.C. ample of time to dictate the tempo of the game, and although Air India proved to be threatening on the break, at large they did not benefit enough from the two strikers, who failed to support their team’s long-ball approach.

By the time the first-45 minutes concluded, Air India seemed to poised in a good position with the score at 0-0 to clinch the title away from O.N.G.C., although their current position seemed certain to shift if a change in the game-plan wasn’t on the cards.

With the start of the second-half, Mumbai F.C. picked-up from where they left the first-45 minutes. Having completely dominated proceedings in the game, Mumbai F.C. failed to create any real chance when it entered in the final-third area of the field.

With the first-half reaching its midway point, Air India at times were being toyed with by Mumbai F.C. as they looked to pounce on one mistake Mumbai F.C. made and pick their opportunity on the break. But, that didn’t come soon as Air India became increasingly frustrated with lack of a proper outlook to attack under pressure.

With the referee’s full-time whistle fast approaching, Air India having thought to have done their job didn’t see Mumbai F.C.’s 93rd minute winner from Rohit Mirza coming anytime soon. The goal meant, ONGC held their first position (32 points) with Air India finishing second and Mumbai FC third after both the giants having 31 points each with the former having a superior goal difference.

Had Air India avoided Mirza’s goal they would have clinch their third consecutive Elite Division Title, a feat which has been rarely seen in the top tier of Mumbai District Football. On the bright note, this was Air India’s only second loss in Elite Division in last two seasons, a remarkable record which can be looked upon to set a new benchmark for the next season.

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